Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hanging 'Truck Nuts' Grows into a Free Speech Debate

"Truck nuts," fake bull testicles made of plastic or metal that drivers hang on the back of their pickups to make a truck look more manly, have been around for years. Some find them funny, while others find them offensive, prompting at least three states to try to ban them -- unsuccessfully. But a recent case in South Carolina is fueling debate over whether these ornaments violate a state's indecency laws and if attempting to regulate them infringes on freedom of speech...more

This wouldn't be the first time a person with a badge and in a government costume exhibited nutty behavior, so let's see what really happened:

On July 5, Virginia Tice, 65, from Bonneau, S.C. pulled her pickup truck into a local gas station with red, fake testicles dangling from the trailer hitch. The town's police chief, Franco Fuda, pulled up and asked her to remove the plastic testicles. When she refused, he wrote her a $445 ticket saying that she violated South Carolina’s obscene bumper sticker law. The South Carolina code of laws reads, “a sticker, decal, emblem, or device is indecent … in a patently offensive way, as determined by contemporary community standards, sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body.” Tice lawyered up and said that she was preparing to challenge Fuda in court. But before she could ask for a jury trial, Fuda, in a rare move, beat her to it. Fuda says he is pushing for a jury trial and hopes the outcome will clarify the state’s obscenity laws, leaving no room for misinterpretation. “The law is very clear, and I am prepared to take it all the way,” Fuda told

Franco he even an American?  Even if he is, he appears to be just a big ol' waste of skin.

Besides, a 65 year old woman driving around with her Truck Nuts showing makes me feel plump patriotic.

I don't see anything in the language of the law cited that would include plastic bull nuts, but let's see what the lawyers say:

“He is nuts,” says Jay Bender, a lawyer and professor at the University of South Carolina, referring to Fuda and his interpretation of the law. Bender says although tasteless and stupid, they are not illegal, and adds, “Chief Fuda is abusing his arrest powers.” He says the statute is very clear about what material is obscene and “it doesn’t have anything to do with artificial bull testicles.”

The professor is right on the law, but is sorely lacking in the appreciation of fine art. He may regret saying Virginia Tice's artistic preference is "tasteless and stupid."  I'll bet she knows how to use the front end of that truck too.

Another attorney, with a much more refined artistic taste, is more to our liking:

David Hudson, a First Amendment attorney and scholar, says laws banning these types of decals, emblems or bumper stickers are problematic, but often someone just hasn’t challenged them. Hudson believes Tice and her lawyer can make a good case the South Carolina law is “unconstitutionally vague and unconstitutionally broad, and it violates the First Amendment.”

That's the stuff I like to hear.

Tice's attorney says Chief Fuda is "arbitrarily interpreting a statute incorrectly" and that he will argue whether or not the large, red, plastic testicles are “really an accurate depiction of a human body part.”

Unfortunately, it does appear that if Tice drove around in her truck with Fuda's nuts hanging from her trailer hitch it just might be a violation.

We find, once again though, that it's a woman with balls who ends up challenging government oppression.  Men, in comparison, seem to suffer from a testicular deficiency.

Perhaps I should have titled this piece GRANNY WITH GONADS TAKES ON GOVERNMENT GOONS.


Tick said...

Around here Chief Fuda's scrotum would probably shrivel on sale day down at the auction barn. About every third truck is decorated with bull balls. A drive through the countryside would not likely unshrivel the chief's nut sack when he observed how many bulls we worship with free hanging decorations of their own. He'd probably become plumb apoplectic if he saw those dangles beneath the lanky Longhorns and the hefty Herefords. God forbid he should drive through Clinton, Mt during the Testicle Festival.

Ya know, just a thought, I wonder if he'd consider dropping charges if Virginia would hang her balls in a jock strap.

Anonymous said...

I support here right to be a tasteless redneck.